So, as the result of a Wall Street Journal article, I joined a new movement called No Labels launched by some well respected politicos and journalists like David Frum, Mark McKinnon and Nancy Jacobson. Other than signing up and adding some website content, today was the first Citizen Leader conference call. The call lead to some really interesting conversation and planning.
Here are some highlights:
- The call included two former Congressmen, John Porter and David Skaggs who are responsible for “Former Members of Congress for Common Ground.” Both had significant insight into expectations (don’t try to change the system) and incremental changes (the House needs a new weekly working schedule to improve bi-partisanship).
- Along the lines of not changing the system, Rep. Porter was clear that changing the system – constitutionally or otherwise – is a great way to diffuse a movement and ruin the cause. However, he mentioned smaller changes that could really have a major impact on how people view elections. For example, FairVote.org was mentioned as a way to move away from primaries and allow elections to be straight general elections where a candidate does not have to worry about “moving” to the extremes of the party to win primaries and back to the middle for a general elections. Everyone can be themselves and voters can vote accordingly. So, major reforms are not the point of No Labels but there are smaller things – state and local level changes – that could impact the national movement.
- “We’re not a party, we’re a voice and a choice.” I thought this is an important distinction. No Labels is not trying to be a third party and is not planning (at this time) to endorse candidates, but rather be a movement and voice in Washington that influences Congress away from partisan extremes.
So, look for No Labels to launch in New York City on December 13th, quite inconveniently the same day as my Evidence final exam. No Labels appears to be organized by passionate people both from inside and outside the political establishment who recognized a need in the market for informal representation. I look forward to supporting and working with the No Labels folks and hopefully we can make a different in the national conversation.